DC Metro Ads are Racist and Islamaphobic

24 May 2007

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The original ad from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and United for Peace and Justice for the June 10 Mobilization Against Israeli Occupation. (Vasudha Desikan)


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The ads from StandWithUS and AMCHA in response to the originals from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and United for Peace and Justice.


StandWithUs and AMCHA-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns have placed ads in stations of the DC metropolitan area metro/subway system (WMATA) in response to ads by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and United for Peace and Justice for the June 10 Mobilization Against Israeli Occupation.

Contrary to their sponsors’ claims, nothing on these ads responds to the main issues raised by the June 10 demonstration ads, namely the central demands of “An end to US military, economic, diplomatic, and corporate support for Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem,” and “A change in US policy to one that supports a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on equality, human rights and international law, and the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions.”

What the ads do convey is a message which is blatantly racist against Arabs and Muslims. The ad by AMCHA is particularly vile in that it explicitly states that, in addition to being fanatical terrorists, all Arabs and Muslims are by nature backward, undemocratic, and sexist. It also conflates resistance to Israeli occupation with terrorism against the US to draw on the fear and hysteria which the “war on terrorism” has whipped up and used against Arabs, Muslims, and immigrants in general.

Israel not only teaches hate but puts it into practice in a lethal way. See for example the pictures of Israeli children writing messages on the missiles which were used to kill over a thousand Lebanese civilians, almost half of whom were children, during its war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=13453. Of course Israeli children would have to do this full time if they were to sign all the shells being fired at Palestinians. Since September 2000, 4,098 Palestinians have been killed by Israel, a fourth of whom were children. But these numbers don’t capture the discrimination and humiliation Palestinians—both those who are second class citizens of Israel and those under occupation—endure on a daily basis under Israeli apartheid (see for example Azmi Bishara’s “Why Israel is After Me”).

CALL TO ACTION

The Coalition for Justice and Accountability (CJA) is calling on all those opposed to injustice and racism anywhere to contact the sponsors of these ads and demand the ads be pulled and an apology be issued. We feel that the racism of these ads is no different than putting a picture of an African American boy and saying that this child could grow up to be a criminal instead of a doctor or teacher—that he already knows what he wants to be when he grows up because blacks are violent, lazy, and poor.

We also ask that you contact CBS Outdoor, the company that oversees in-station advertising for WMATA, and let them know that you object to these racist ads. Coincidentally, the June 10 “The World Says No to Israeli Occupation” ads were initially rejected by CBS Outdoor on the basis that they were too “inflamatory to children”.

Finally, we would not object to groups organizing protests or pickets at the offices of these organizations to further expose them and exert additional pressure. However, we feel that the best way to actively protest these ads is to participate in and help build the June 10 Mobilization Against Israeli Occupation. For more information about the demonstration and the June 11 Lobby Day and how to volunteer, go to http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=177.

Rothstein and Memsic/Infowit, Inc. (StandWithUS)*
332 N. La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2518
Phone: (323) 933-4668
Fax: (323) 936-6836
 info@standwithus.com

*StandWithUS appears to be connected to and possibly started by what was formerly known as Rothstein and Memsic, an LA based PR firm which has since become a software company called Infowit, Inc. The StandWithUS family of websites is registered under Rothstein and Memsic and the latter has a history of backing these sorts of projects (for example, see http://libraryjuicepress.com/blog/?p=170).

AMCHA-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns
3700 Henry Hudson Parkway
Bronx, NY 10463
Phone: 718.796.4730
Fax: 718.884.3206
 info@amchacjc.org

CBS Outdoor
Jodi Senese (person who initially rejected June 10 ad)
EVP Marketing
405 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10174
Tel: 212.297.6400
Fax: 212.370.1817
 jodi.senese@cbsoutdoor.com

If your organization would like to add its name to this call to action, please contact CJA. We will add it and other developments around the ads to our website.

Related Links

  • The Coalition for Justice and Accountability
  • US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation